Amtrak's Last Train

The flashy new Acela is the carrier's final shot at proving it can run a you-know-what profitably

As the Acela Express zooms along the New England coastline at up to 150 m.p.h., bare trees and backyards flying by, it's hard to believe that the nation's first high-speed train is really the work of Amtrak. Where is the sluggish, lurching ride we've come to count on--and curse--from the nation's famously floundering passenger-rail operator?

It's still there, in most of the U.S. But a trip from New York City to Boston that can take close to five hours is now over in about three and a quarter, thanks to a new "tilting" technology that helps the Acela negotiate curves....

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